A real estate agent will tell you that they can sell you a house, but it's not true. You don't choose a house. The house chooses you, being older and having had the persistence to stay put, whereas you found it necessary to abandon one place for another.
Then, once having chosen, the house reveals its secrets one by one, uncovering a stubborn drain here or a squeaky door there. In those first weeks, bricks, plumbing, concrete, and roof all announced their immediate need and I tried to prove my faithfulness in meeting them.
A house saves its best surprises, though, for its living parts. Within weeks of signing the papers, my house buried its life, shrinking beneath frost and snow, sleeping for five frigid months, taunting, hiding behind lowered lashes. Spring has come, though, and now that it has, the house yawns, stretches out its arms, and lets it fingers unfold in greeting, almost before I can see.
Crocuses first, purple and striped. Then the lush, but niggardly, green of a daffodil clump that saw fit to yield only one flower. The clematis sprouted only halfway up. The tree next to the arbor that won't tell yet whether leaf or flower will come first. Tulips, roses, raspberries, strawberries, all unwinding green from some inner storehouse of life, all according to their own predetermined recipe.